Informal traders blame govt for low health budget

Streetwise Informal Traders’ Association director, Percy Mcijo has blamed the government for allocating the health sector a paltry $408 million, which is $12 million less than the $420 million allocated to the Defence and War Veterans’ ministry in this year’s budget, saying this led to labour unrest in the sector.

BY SILAS NKALA

“This action by government is affecting ordinary people. We cannot access health services elsewhere other than in the country. These ordinary people we talk of include informal traders or vendors, whom we represent and it’s well-known that the country is under high unemployment of 90% and dismissing those nurses actually increases the number of people who are jobless,” he told Southern Eye last week.

“A responsible government is one that wants to reduce unemployment, and not increase it. It must be known that nurses are also workers whose conditions of services are provided in the constitution of Zimbabwe with a right to engage in collective job action.”

Mcijo said the nurses had a right to demand fair remuneration.

“We noticed before this in the budget allocation itself that the health sector was allocated money far less than that of Defence ministry when there is no war in the country,” he said.

“Why don’t we as a country adhere to the United Nations budgetary allocation statutes, which stipulates health sector as critical, where by 22% of the total budget of a nation should go to health?”

Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa early this year said the allocation to his ministry was too little.

“Our target was $1,1 billion, it’s still not sufficient if you look at the number of repairs that are needed in our hospitals, just as an example. Before I touch medicines, if you look at how many laundry machines countrywide have broken down, the X-Ray machines that need to be replaced, the laboratory equipment that need to be addressed,” he said then.

Zimbabwe’s hospitals have been crippled by lack of medicines and equipment, which has in the past resulted in the suspension of some surgical operations at major hospitals.

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